Dangerous Pets: What’s Your Responsibility?

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Dog about to bite a trespasserOn an almost daily basis, news reports abound with stories of adults, young children, and even babies being attacked by dogs that are aggressive to their own owners, family members, and strangers. Gruesome stories of an innocent child being mauled or killed by uncontrollable packs of dogs seem to be on the increase. What responsibility do you have as a dog owner to prevent bites, attacks or aggressive behavior towards humans and other animals by your dog?

Generally, under local and state ordinances it is the responsibility of the dog owner to control the animal’s behavior, whether barking, roaming, or being aggressive. Although some breeds may be more prone to aggressive behavior, experts in dog behavior say that owners who refuse to train or discipline their pets are responsible for many of the aggressive behavior displayed. When a dog owner decides to take on ownership they are responsible for making sure their animal is kept healthy and has behavioral training to prevent or correct negative behaviors.

Allowing your dog to bark at the postman might seem like cute or normal behavior but that teaches your dog it is alright to act aggressively to someone who is on their property. Visitors will always be stopping by your home and not controlling something as simple as a barking dog can lead to more aggressive behavior such as biting or nipping. Although larger breeds can do more physical damage, smaller breeds can easily sustain considerable damage to a child or other pets.

Consequences of not preventing your dog’s aggressive behavior towards humans and other pets may include having your dog confiscated by animal control and possible euthanasia. You can also be held responsible for medical and or trauma to anyone harmed by your dog. With an estimated 4.7 million bites from dogs in the United States each year, the severity of the problem does not seem to be declining any time soon.